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Let's Talk About Love - A Devotion

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I Corinthians 13:13 (Amplified)
And so faith, hope, love abide [faith—conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope—joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love—true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I love the many translations of God’s Word available to us today. It gives us an opportunity for deeper insight and inspection of what God has to say to us through the ages without the necessity of becoming a Biblical scholar with many years of seminary study. You can certainly find one that speaks to you or meets your need intellectually, as well as spiritually. This morning I had one word on my mind – “love”. I don’t know why it was there spinning in my thoughts along with the idea that “I was made to love You” (you being the God of the Universe). It woke me up before the sun and after fighting both consciousness and covers, I decided to search out the meaning of this word “love” and why the Lord thought it compelling enough to wake me up. I use the Amplified Version of the Bible many times but I was surprised to find that I have never looked up Corinthians 13 in this translation. Not only did I find a sound definition of love but faith and hope as well. Faith is the conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God. Hope is the joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation. I believe this to be coupled with and based on my faith or conviction and belief that God loves me and died to save me. Finally, love is defined by our faith and hope produced by our relationship with God. Love is true affection for God and man which is inseparable. It grows out of God’s Love for us and in us. One might think faith would be most important because it is what links us to God. Or perhaps hope because it is evidence of faith real enough to produce expectation but the Lord has decided the greatest of these is “love”. So let’s talk about love…

Love abide is actually what the verse says so I looked up the word abide. Abide means to remain or dwell on something. Since this is the end of the chapter, I went back to the beginning because it is apparent that the Lord wants us to stay focused on these three things – faith, hope and love because the Word tells us to do. We are to remain in and dwell on faith respecting our relationship with God and all things that are divine. We are to remain in and dwell on hope which produces joyful, confident expectation in our salvation which is after the fact. You are not truly saved in this life but when you step from this world into Eternity so it would make sense that we live expecting something more than what we are currently experiencing. We are to remain in and dwell on love that is true affection for God and other people stemming from the Love of God growing in us produced by faith and hope cultivated by His Spirit. The greatest thing we do is to love as it is a complete culmination and cultivation of the God’s Love invested in us!

I Corinthians 13:1-3 (Amplified)
If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody). Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing.

Have you ever caught the end of a good movie that made you want to go back and watch the whole movie all over again? It happens from time to time when channel surfing, so you go back to the beginning and watch the whole thing. I am compelled to do so in this analysis of love and its impact in, on and through my life. Love is reasoning inspired by God’s Love for us and in us. Love is intentional inspired by God’s Love for us and in us. Love is spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s Love for us and in us. There is no point to studying God’s Word and attempting to do what it says without love as the basis of everything we do. See if God were not love and did not love us then there is no point to living life any specific way because it would only lead to death anyway. Our life gains purpose the moment that we accept the Love of God through our faith in Jesus Christ and begin to produce confident hope by walking in His Way that is love. The secret truth and greatest mystery of God is His Ability and Willingness to love the unlovable, rebellious, haters that His Chosen have shown to be. His Grace is sufficient. His Mercy new every single morning as He leads us to Eternity one-day-at-a-time and one-step-at-a-time. Religion leads us back to regulations, but love always leads us to relationships. Even if our faith in God is strong enough to move mountains but there is no love in us – we are useless nobodies. I am nothing but dust returning to the ground because my soul is destroyed without love. It doesn’t matter so much what we do in this life but our motive in doing it. We were made to love God demonstrated by our faith that He loves us producing confident hope placing all expectancy in God’s Love releasing human beings from our expectations allowing us to love others unconditionally just like God loves us. You don’t need people anymore. The only thing you owe them is love so no need for affirmation, affection and acceptance from them but you can affirm, affect and accept them because God through Jesus Christ loves you! You can pretend to be anything in this life that you want to be. There are actually some people who build completely fake personas via social media to live a secret life. But the Lord sees our heart. He puts His Spirit in us to identify us as His Children so there is no sneaking in. If you exercise religion, pretend to be righteous doing all the right things and saying all the right words, but do not truly love others and even yourself, God’s Love is not in you. He knows. So let’s talk about love…

I Corinthians 13:4-8 (Amplified)
Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].

Many times I Corinthians 13 especially the preceding verses are used in wedding ceremonies to remind each person what God expects in their relationship. I challenge that the Lord included these verses relating to marriage of people but it is characteristic of what God expects in our marriage to Jesus Christ. After all, we are the Bride of Christ. The one who He is coming back for. So this is what is expected of His Betrothed who are waiting for the Bridegroom’s Return. Love endures long. Our love for Jesus Christ outlast and outlive every doubt and disbelief that we have. Endurance means it is going to go through some stuff so we have no excuse to get lost in our problems or troubles because we knew they were coming. The Lord gave us faith to endure, hope to endure and love to endure. Love endures long after the music fades, the light dims and the feel good is gone. This does not only apply to marriage but to our relationship with Jesus Christ. When we leave the church house, walk away from the altar and all the people go away – love endures long after all that. It is patient. I don’t know about most of you all, but I could live right here working on this trait for the rest of my life. For all the times I get frustrated with the poor planning, late, selfish, left lane Larry’s that steal my joy and cause me to get mad not to mention all the extended wait times that I have worried, fretted and fumed through clearly not demonstration faith or confidence in the Love of God or showing His Love to others. Yep, this is probably going to take the rest of my life to work out so keep moving. Love is not jealous meaning it doesn’t get mad or disappointed when others are blessed rather than you. Faith and hope remind us that our blessing and promise is on the Way and His Timing is impeccable and perfect. As the description of the kind of love expected of the Bride of Christ continues, I am reminded of daily encounters where I did not show the Love of God that lives inside of me to other people. I must repent.

”Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person.” The Lord has given us a wonderful foundation to build a life of love called faith. It is hidden in these verses as a reminder that we do not have to make our own love but that Jesus made it a foundation in our life. Faith in Jesus Christ allows us to make mistakes in loving others knowing that His Blood is sufficient in the remission of sin so we can keep trying to love from our faith rather than ourselves. I have faith that Jesus Christ loved me more than anyone else can or ever will so when my husband makes a mistake, my children are inconsiderate, or other people let me down – I can still love them because Jesus still loves me. If you do not have any faith than you will expect too much of other people who will most certainly fail you. They do not mean to any more than you intend to let the Lord down when you fail or fall short, but His Love for you is unconditional so you don’t have to go find it anywhere else because there is nothing you can do to lose it other than reject it. If you want it, you got it!

Hebrews 11:1 (Amplified)
“Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].

“Its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].” That’s crazy, hope is hidden in these verses too. Faith is the assurance, confirmation and title deed of the things we hope for. Hope is reserved for the things we do not see but have full conviction of their reality. The Word goes on to tell us that if we can see it, there is no need to hope for it. (Romans 8:24) Let’s tie it all together. Hope is demonstrated when we react and respond to what we know to be true (God is Love and He loves us) rather than what the world brings our way. We have talked about all the ways that we are to demonstrate love and all the things love is not. We have decided that faith is a requirement of love and gives us the ability to do so. Those with hope will love other people because they hope in the Lord. “Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-6) Is it just me, or does Romans 5 talk about the very same things that are used to describe how to love? Faith and hope produce love in our life. It must first become the establishment of our life. When it does, we will see a difference in how we love God, others and even ourselves. The Holy Spirit continues to pour God’s Love out in our hearts, when we make a point to change our hearts from rebellious, hard, upside down structures and allow Jesus Christ to turn them right-side up giving us a soft heart that is responsive and willing to receive His Love, it will begin to overflow in our life. By choosing to work out our salvation (Philippians 2:12), build a firm foundation of faith (Jude 1:20), and hold tight to the confident hope (Hebrews 6:18-19) being produced by living such a life and you will learn to love others as God loves you. Furthermore, love will become the premise of all you do because Jesus Christ lives in you and His Love overflows from you!

I Corinthians 13:9-12 (Amplified)
For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect). But when the complete and perfect (total) comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away (become antiquated, void, and superseded). When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside. For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God].

I was made by the Hand of God. I was made to love Him. I was created to worship the Lord with my entire life. I do this not in what I do for God but how I much I love Him back. We show our love for God in how our faith and confident hope allows us to love other people. This is the definition of giving our life away. Since I struggle so much with patience, especially in waiting, the Lord impressed upon me to begin allowing others to go ahead of me when waiting in line at the supermarket or in traffic. How do I know it’s the Lord? Because when I ignore His Urging, I am immediately convicted. I know in that instant that I did not love as I should. How is this love? After a full day of work and two hours of grocery shopping for a week’s of groceries while observing some kind of budget only to find out there are only three of twenty lanes open, I am usually in no mood to act out of the goodness of my heart so it clearly has to be God! To allow another person to go before me is most definitely born of God’s Love for me and clearly not human nature. Love is patient. Love is kind. You have to start somewhere so why not today? Find people to share the Love of God with as He expects. The Lord has laid out a clear definition of how to love, when to love, where to love and who to love – now it is up to you to show His Love to every person you encounter even if you only begin with one. Love is no respecter of persons which means it doesn’t matter who they are, it matters who you are especially Who lives inside you! We have talked above love now go do it!

I John 4:6-8 (Amplified)
We are [children] of God. Whoever is learning to know God [progressively to perceive, recognize, and understand God by observation and experience, and to get an ever-clearer knowledge of Him] listens to us; and he who is not of God does not listen or pay attention to us. By this we know (recognize) the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is (springs) from God; and he who loves [his fellowmen] is begotten (born) of God and is coming [progressively] to know and understand God [to perceive and recognize and get a better and clearer knowledge of Him]. He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love.

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